Republican senators selected Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to lead the conservative agenda in upper chamber starting in the 114th Congress.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who has served as the chairman of the Senate Steering Committee for the past two years, will step down from the post at the end of this year.
“Mike Lee is a knowledgeable and principled movement conservative, and he has done a terrific job as vice chairman of the Steering Committee this Congress,” Toomey said in a statement. “I’m pleased to hand the gavel to him. I look forward to continuing to work with Mike, and my colleagues, to advance innovative conservative ideas that help create jobs and grow the economy.”
The conservative caucus meets each Wednesday to plan its agenda.
Lee has made a conservative war on poverty a centerpiece of his personal policy agenda.
“I am honored by the opportunity to chair the Senate Steering Committee,” said Lee, who has been serving as vice-chairman of the caucus. “Senator Toomey has been a courageous and principled leader and I hope to maintain the standard he has set.”
“The Senate Steering Committee will continue to develop and promote conservative solutions and facilitate vigorous discussion and debate on the issues that matter most to the country,” he added. “I look forward to leading this effort and very much appreciate the support of my colleagues.”
Toomey fell out of favor with some on the right after co-sponsoring a gun-control compromise bill in spring 2013 with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), which ultimately failed.
Senate Conservatives Fund president Ken Cuccinelli called Lee “a principled leader and a true champion for the conservative movement.”
“SCF was proud to endorse Mike when he ran for the Senate in 2010 and we are very glad that he has been named Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee,” Cuccinelli said in a statement. “Mike has continued to be a strong voice for our nation’s Constitution and the need for limited government. We’re excited to see him continue to fight for conservative policies in this new position and stand ready to help steer the Senate in the right direction.”